The Creel Inn, Catterline
The Creel Inn pub and seafood restaurant is a fabulous, independent eatery that really knows how to hook its customers. Catterline is known as The Artists’ Village and the restaurant, perched on cliffs overlooking the bay from which it sources its fish, enjoys one of the most spectacular vistas on the east coast. Staff are efficient and friendly and the menu is imaginative and varied with plenty on offer for non-fish eaters and vegetarians. Dining at The Creel won’t break the bank, either. You can have a single-course lunch or early dinner for £11.95, two courses for £14.95 and three for a reasonable £17.95. Once you’ve visited, you will want to go back.
Where: The Creel Inn, Catterline, AB39 2UL
Tel: 01569 750 254
Coffee Still Cafe, Glenlivet
This is the hub for Glenlivet Bike Trails and is in a lovely location. It offers great breakfasts, soups and homebakes.
Where: Kirkmichael, Ballindalloch, AB37 9AR
Tel: 07599 973 845
The Cock and Bull, Balmedie
The Cock and Bull has been Scottish Gastro Pub of the Year three times. The judges described it as having a “natural ambience and a lovely genuine warmth, with superb food and a menu brimming with local produce”. We tried it in 2014 and had to agree – and our opinion hasn’t changed. It’s hardly surprising then that this restaurant has been awarded and retained two AA Rosettes since 2005 and has, since that time, been consistently included in the Michelin Eating Out In Pubs Guide. Oh, don’t forget to try the cocktails – they are to die for!
Where: Ellon Road, Balmedie, AB23 8XY
Tel: 01358 743 249
Teapot 1, Gardenstown
Teapot 1 in the pretty coastal community of Gardenstown has been charged with serving great snacks, lunches and homebakes. And it’s a fair cop! This eatery – which takes its name from the call sign for the Metropolitan Police mobile catering unit – is a gem. The homemade soup is fantastic!
Where: Harbour Road, Gardenstown, AB45 3YS
Tel: 01261 851221
The Bakehouse, Findhorn
The Bakehouse and its café feed the mind, body and soul. It’s all about the holistic approach. This eatery is part of the “slow food” movement which links the pleasure of food with a commitment to the community and the environment. At the Bakehouse, fare is prepared from scratch every day using only natural ingredients sourced locally. And it tries its hardest to only buy fair trade products of artisan quality. Its ethos is more than matched by its magical waterside location in Findhorn, home to Findhorn Foundation spiritual community and eco park.
Where: 91-92 Findhorn, Forres, IV36 3YG
Tel: 01309 691826
The Falls of Feugh, Banchory
The Falls of Feugh took the North East Scotland Restaurant of the Year title in 2015 and 2016. It was also last year’s winner of the regional prize for Best Afternoon Tea and Young Chef of the Year. Chef John uses only the best local and seasonal ingredients and innovative methods to create dishes showcasing Scottish produce at its finest. And the restaurant’s location is breathtaking – just 10 metres from the old stone Bridge of Feugh from where you can watch leaping salmon as they battle the falls to reach spawning grounds upstream. After a walk to the bridge we recommend you spoil yourself with a traditional afternoon tea, which is a very civilised affair. In fine weather, it can be taken on the terrace overlooking the neatly manicured lawn as it sweeps down to the river. The restaurant’s Falls Victoria Sponge is heavenly, as is the Tipsy Cake, aptly named when taken with bubbly! Popular with families who love their Sunday roasts.
Where: Bridge of Feugh, Banchory, AB31 6NL
Tel: 01330 822123
Stuart Arms, Dufftown
The family-owned Stuart Arms is open all day, every day for meals and drinks. It has good pub food – like the 9oz sirloin steak and the oven-roasted Speyside salmon fillet – which are averagely priced. There is also a fine selection of vintage and rare single malt whiskys, most hand-picked by the owner. Staff are friendly and helpful with a refreshing sense of humour.
Where: 22 Conval Street, Dufftown, AB55 4AE
Tel: 01340 820302
The Kilted Frog, Inverurie
If you’re looking for something different, then this is the place for you. The Kilted Frog is a tiny delicatessen and eatery run by its French owner. The menu is ever-changing, exciting and meals come with a distinctive Gallic twist. Space is tight so you might find yourself sharing a table and chatting with your fellow diners – which just adds to the ambience!
Where: 10 West High St, Inverurie, AB51 3SA
Tel: 01467 670066
Scone Spy Recommends…
Fortmartine’s, Tarves, Ellon
“If you love the planet you’ll love Formartine’s.
“Located in a pioneering zero-carbon building against a backdrop of forest green, this eatery serves simple seasonal dishes and artisan food using finest local produce.
“The holder of a Green Tourism Gold Award and four tourist board stars, Formartine’s also has its own smokehouse, a gift shop and playpark.”
Beggars Belief Coffee Cove, Shorehead, Portsoy
“Trying to find a café that admits dogs and captivates kids is as likely as finding buried treasure.
“But this canine-friendly coffee shop in a would-be pirate cove does just that. Set on the quayside, it offers a tasty scone selection (like bacon and cheese and fruit) and a range of snacks.
“Best of all is the warm welcome it gives its four-legged clients and their humans. The kids love it too!”
Traffords High Street, Turriff
“Scones are made in-house each morning and include the cafe’s regular fruit and cheese varieties.
“However, there is also a surprise third choice – one day it might be mango or coconut, the next pineapple or raspberry and white chocolate. All are scrumptious.
“And lunch is a wholesome affair with soups made from scratch.”
Pittodrie House, Chapel of Garioch, Inverurie
“If you are after an upmarket experience, then historic Pittodrie House, in the shadow of iconic Bennachie, is the place for you.
“Afternoon tea can be taken in its spectacular drawing room where amidst gilt-framed portraits and fine antiques, you can enjoy home-made scones with clotted cream and jam, sandwiches and even champagne!”
Want to explore more of Scotland? Head to our Scottish Gems section.
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